ED targets assets worth Rs 36.57 crore in J&K Health Insurance scam

| Updated: 19 January, 2024 4:46 pm IST

SRINAGAR: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized assets worth over Rs 36 crore in a money laundering investigation linked to fraud in a Mediclaim insurance policy tender for J&K government employees. The ED issued a provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), attaching a ₹4.04 crore land in the name of Globus Trade Links Pvt. Ltd. (TRBL subsidiary) and fixed deposits valued at ₹32.53 crore belonging to RGIPL.

The probe revolves around the suspicious tendering process for the mediclaim insurance policy, awarded by the J&K Finance Department to RGIPL in collusion with TRBL, an insurance brokerage firm. The ED alleges that the Finance Department intentionally granted the tender to TRBL without adhering to essential eligibility criteria during the intermediary selection process.

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The ED states that the tender, meant for engaging an insurance company registered with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), was awarded through TRBL to a company previously blacklisted by the Government of Chhattisgarh. Despite the awarded company having minimal presence and experience in J&K, essential eligibility criteria were modified and deleted as prerequisites for the tender.

A total of ₹63.53 crores was fraudulently disbursed to the involved companies, with approximately ₹17 crores allocated for medical claims by RGIPL, according to the ED.

The ED’s investigation follows the CBI’s FIR in April 2022, which implicated Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers Limited. Additionally, former J&K governor Satyapal Malik claimed he was offered a Rs 300 crore bribe in October 2021 to clear two files during his tenure, including one related to a group medical insurance scheme for government employees.

The CBI FIR alleged that unknown officials of the J&K finance department, in collaboration with TRBL, Reliance General Insurance, and others, committed criminal conspiracy and misconduct. This purportedly led to pecuniary advantages for themselves and wrongful loss to the state exchequer during 2017 and 2018, cheating the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

There are allegations from various sources that the contract for Reliance General Insurance deviated significantly from government norms. These include the absence of an online tender, the removal of the original condition requiring vendors to have experience working in J&K, and the stipulation that the company should have a turnover of Rs 5,000 crore.

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